Lord Patel quits as chair of Yorkshire County Cricket Club

Lord Kamlesh Patel has announced he is stepping down Credit: PA

Lord Kamlesh Patel has announced he is stepping down as chair of Yorkshire County Cricket Club after just 14 months in the role.

Lord Patel was appointed in November 2021 to turn the club around following the crisis prompted by former player Azeem Rafiq's claims that he had been the victim of systemic racism during his time at Headingley.

During his tenure around 20 members of staff left the club.

No reason has been given for his departure.

In a statement Lord Patel said: “It has been an honour and a privilege to work for such a prestigious organisation.

“I have made the difficult decision to step aside at the next AGM and enable the club to continue on its important journey of change under a new chair."

Rafiq prompted a game-wide scandal after going public with his claims.

The ex-bowler gave emotional testimony at a parliamentary committee and said racial slurs had been "used constantly" during his two spells at the club.

The Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee also launched an inquiry which concluded there is a "deep-seated issue of racism" within the sport.

Yorkshire brought in changes in response to widespread criticism and Headingley being stripped of the rights to host international fixtures.

Rafiq himself apologised when anti-Semitic messages he had written years earlier emerged online.

There have been further claims made against him of anti-Semitism and bullying, which he has denied.

Yorkshire County Cricket club was rocked by a racism scandal after allegations made by former player Azeem Rafiq

Lord Patel thanked those who have been "hugely supportive" of the changes introduced under his watch at Headingley, which included a procedure for whistleblowers to report discrimination.

He added: "I would also like to thank the staff and board members who have all worked tirelessly during what has been a transformational period in Yorkshire’s history.

“There is still much for the club to do, but I have the strongest faith that Yorkshire will be back at the pinnacle of English cricket for the long-term.”

Stephen Vaughan, the chief executive, said: “Kamlesh should be extremely proud of what he has achieved at Headingley during his tenure as chair.

“The structures that have been put in place are vital in ensuring that Yorkshire is a club that people are proud to be associated with."